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Faith Christian boys soccer falls in OT in state final


The Sweetest Place on Earth was bittersweet for Faith Christian on Saturday afternoon. The defending Class A state champion Lions (18-3), who won a crown on that very pitch one year ago, fell 1-0 in overtime to District Seven champion Winchester Thurston at the PIAA final in Hershey Park Stadium.
The Bears emerged from a hard fought match as the new state champs when Oliver Daboo netted his 20th goal of the season with 8:06 left in overtime. Local residents were able to watch the match’s live broadcast on the PCN TV Network.
Faith carried a 14-match win streak into Saturday’s final. “I think we’re just hitting our stride,” Lions head coach Ryan Clymer shared last Wednesday. “The game plan has been working for each team that we’ve played. They’ve all been slightly different and the players are buying into that. The forwards are looking for each other. The defense is clicking and backing each other up. The midfield is taking every game personally. These kids are hitting their stride at the right time.”
Both teams had two shots each ricochet off the crossbar in regulation. A point-blank attempt from Faith in the 56th minute that bounced off the bar was especially agonizing.
It was the first time that Faith took on the Bears, the 2019 Class A runner-up. “We’ll watch a lot of film on (Winchester Thurston),” Clymer explained. “I don’t know anyone out in Pittsburgh that coaches, so we’re going to have to rely solely on film and pick it apart.
“When you look at teams, you can’t really tell how big they are, how determined they are and how organized they are,” Clymer continued. “Film can tell you a lot, but until you get on the field and actually go up for a 50/50 ball and see a team, it’s tough to tell. If we play like we did in the last three or four matches, I think we have a good shot.”
It had been a four-tuitous postseason for Faith. Including district play, the Lions had scored four goals in four of their first five playoff matches.
“The biggest thing is that they are putting their shots on target right now,” Clymer explained. “Our practices have been 90% finishing. And it’s been working.

“If there is any high school that has two forwards who play well together, they’re automatically a threat,” Clymer feels. “I’ve got four guys I can rotate in and that is definitely nothing I’ve ever had before.”
The Lions have shared the wealth: Bobby Elitz and Colin Moyer have each tallied the crucial first goal in a state playoff game. Marcus Pringle scored first in Faith’s district title win.
Faith’s 4-0 win over Moravian Academy in the PIAA semifinal “was all Colin. He looked like he was ready to play,” described Clymer as Moyer had a brace by halftime. “At Camp Hill (PIAA quarterfinal), Bobby was on fire.
“Marcus has a lot of freedom because he is such a good player and reads the game so well. Offensively, he sits in pockets and he finds open areas,” Clymer shared. “If he is not scoring, then he is creating for other people. Then we have Chris Evans who comes off of the bench. At times during the second half of the year he was my most potent forward.”
Faith returned 14 seniors from the team that throttled Greensburg Central Catholic 5-1 in the 2020 title game. The Lions’ 1-0 opening night win over Boyertown served notice of a sky-high Faith ceiling.
“We went in just to say ‘We’re going to compete with this team.’ They’re a bigger team,” Clymer said at the start of district play. “Most of my back line was new. Our keeper (J.R. Roberts) stood on his head and made three fantastic saves, including a PK. That was a really good learning experience for us because Boyertown was, in my estimation, the better team as far as talent goes.”
As the season progressed, Class 4A Boyertown ultimately won the Pioneer Athletic Conference and narrowly missed making states. Faith gradually learned to appreciate the magnitude of the win, and how good their side had to be to earn it.